Looking Forward

 

BOLTON WANDERERS

Worthington Cup 5th Round

Tuesday 11th December 2001

Having face the same side just eight days before, you could imagine that this Worthington Cup tie would be something of a stalemate.  Both sides are aware of each others players, but the game in the Premier League swung to and fro so wildly with three points at stake, that I doubt if much was learned by either boss that they didn't know already.  On top of that, both clubs had unexpected defeats at the weekend - Spurs to Charlton and Bolton at Derby, so they will want to put things back on the right track as soon as possible.

Finn Jussi Jaaskelainen proved himself to be a very agile keeper, with a super stretching save to deny Ziege in last week's game.  He also looked strong in the air and Spurs will have to improve the quality of their crossing to cut him out of the equation.  On the bench, Kevin Poole or Steve Banks are experienced stand-ins, should they be required.

Former Spurs defender Gudni Bergsson demonstrated that he is still capable of doing a good job in the heart of the Trotters defence, but his and Colin Hendry's advancing years should allow the Spurs attackers to match them for pace.  A lot will depend on Les Ferdinand's fitness as to how the game goes, as I guess Hoddle will want to start with him after the problems he caused last week.  Mike Whitlow and Simon Charlton proved very difficult to get past, but that was when Bolton pulled a lot of players back behind the ball after their early goal.  If they do not make the breakthrough at the start, they might have to push players forward and that should leave Spurs space to use to their advantage.  They tend however, to keep a solid back four and hit on the break for their attacks.  Other options available to Allardyce are Bruno N'Gotty, Anthony Barness and Djibril Diawara, who have been in and out of the playing squad lately.

In midfield, we saw Gareth Farrelly and Per Frandsen working hard alongside young hopeful Kevin Nolan.  Both Farrelly and Nolan were responsible for moaning a lot to the ref and also for making some rash tackles and they can concede free-kicks where it is not entirely necessary.  Both can link well with the forwards though and their late runs to receive crosses can produce danger for Spurs.  Now that Paul Warhurst has returned from suspension, he might be on the bench, but the real skill in this area comes from Ricardo Gardner, the Jamaican international, who can produce damaging dribbles and he has a good eye for a pass to.  Spurs need to ensure that he doesn't make runs that take too many players out of the game.

Dane Bo Hansen has had some first team exposure this season, but appears to share the second striker spot with Rod Wallace and Dean Holdsworth in big matches, where the Bolton boss prefers to start with Ricketts rather than have him on the bench.  The young forward showed he is a natural goalscorer, but also let his strength get the better of him as he clattered a number of players before finally getting yellow carded against Spurs.  He has to learn to channel his energies, rather than get involved in petty fouls.  Holdsworth played a subs role against Spurs, but nearly won it at the end and this time Spurs will be without Richards, who is cup-tied.  Still able to find the net, he can be a dangerous poacher, but his pace seemed to desert him at the last minute in the run on goal he had.  Japanese loan import Akinori Nishizawa doesn't seem to be favoured at the moment, while Henrik Pedersen is still out injured.

Spurs should watch out for a corner tactic where Warhurst takes up a far post position and nods the ball back across goal to Ricketts, who has a clear header with players drawn to the other side of the goal.  Another move they practice is to station Ricketts next to the keeper and Bergsson heads down from a corner, invariably to where the young striker is standing and he gets a shot in on goal.

As the two teams familiarised themselves last week they will be aware of the strengths and weaknesses, but it is a one off match and therefore,

 

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham  2   Bolton Wanderers  1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.

 

 

Tottenham  6   Bolton Wanderers   0                                 (Half time score: 4- 0)
WORTHINGTON CUP 5th ROUND
Tuesday 11th December 2001
Kick Off : 7.45 p.m.
Weather : -  Cold, clear.
Crowd : -   28,340
Referee : -   Mr. G. Barber  (Tring)

Scorers : -  Tottenham   -   Davies 21, Ferdinand 29, 30, 38, Barness 79 og, Iversen 84.
                  Bolton Wanderers  -  None

CARDS

Spurs :  None

Bolton Wanderers :  Jaaskelainen (dissent)  45 

TEAMS 

Spurs :  Sullivan; Gardner, King, Perry; Taicco, Anderton, Poyet (Sherwood 72), Freund, Davies, ; Sheringham (Iversen 67), Ferdinand (Rebrov 45)
Unused Subs : - Keller, Thelwell

Bolton Wanderers : Jaaskelainen; N'Gotty (Whitlow 45), Hendry, Barness, Southall; Frandsen (Wallace 67), Pedersen, Johnson, Farrelly; Holdsworth, Nishisawa (Gardiner 45)
Unused Subs : - Viander; Ricketts

For the record this was a match against a Premiership side who had been doing well, but their manager decided to ring the changes to their detriment and it could affect their whole season.  To go down by six goals and the constant threat of the score being added to throughout the ninety minutes (21 shots - 16 on target), must knock the confidence of a side already looking like they are on the slide after early season successes.  To emphasise this, it took them over an hour to trouble Neil Sullivan and then the shot was straight at him.

That the same effort was their only one on target during the whole match was very poor by anyone's standards (even SCBC).  I don't know if Allardyce thought his players would respond to the opportunity offered them, but with the main threat idly parking his bum on the bench, Bolton were never likely to get much out of this game other than a sound beating.

Tottenham have fielded the bulk of their first team for most of the rounds of this competition and it has paid off for them.  Gardner came in for injury victim Bunjevcevic, while Freund returned from suspension.  That left Tottenham with a definite advantage, especially in the passing department as they proceeded to take Bolton apart with some crisp and decisive passing moves. Not only that, but they added fancy flicks and some considerable hard work to deny the visitors any space to work in.  Anderton's challenge to prevent Frandsen getting a shot in during the first half was a prime example.

The Tottenham defence was able to pick off any balls played up to Nishisawa, who does not look likely to stay at the Reebok Stadium long on this showing.  Holdsworth tried to rough his former team-mate Chris Perry up, but "the Rash" lived up to his old billing and was determined to enjoy the game after Deano elbowed him in the mouth.

The goals came at the right times for Tottenham.  After having created a litany of chances, Simon Davies finished a neat move after Les had touched the ball back to him about 18 yards out.  Then a session of head tennis found Les popping up at the far stick to head home, doing the same again just a minute after, when he stooped to head a goal between two Bolton players.  His third, also a header, came from a pin-point cross to the far post again, by Simon Davies.  He really is a talent and the way he bent it with the outside of his foot would have been raved about if it had been Beckham.

The tide subsided a bit in the second half, with Rebrov replacing Les and Iversen eventually coming on for Teddy. Even Sherwood got a look in, but he showed that the quality of passing now required is above his level.  

There were two further goals.  One an own goal, when an innocuous ball into the box was inexplicably pushed past his own keeper by Barness and the second was a case of pinball in the penalty area as Anderton had two goes, before Iversen lashed home from close in.

While there will be comments about the lack of strength in the Bolton side, they still had to be beaten and the fact that they conceded six says more for the persistence of Spurs than their lack of ability.  For Tottenham, Darren Anderton covered a hell of a lot of ground and was at the hub of the moves that Spurs created throughout the game.  Without needing to beat a man, he showed he still has a lot to offer Spurs (and probably England).  But for his performance, Anthony Gardner would have gone away with the MEHSTG top man award, as he was so assured in defence and willing to move up into attack too.  The back line looks secure for the next generation at least and the rest of the team doesn't look too bad for the current one !!

With Fulham visiting and on a decent run of results, it will be a tricky game, but another that will show how Spurs react to the number and quality of the games they have to play.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : -  DARREN ANDERTON

Pete Stachio

 

IT'S TRADITIONAL

 

It is so rare to see a traditional hat-trick, that this was one such occasion.  Les' three consecutive headed goals made this a special occasion - and all inside nine minutes too.  The fact that it was against Bolton Wanderers reserves does not devalue it, as it was good enough to take Tottenham through to the semi-finals.

When teams like Bolton start putting out weakened sides in the Worthington Cup, then you know that something is wrong.  The comments about not being ready for Europe don't ring true as they have been finalists in this competition twice in recent years and the fact that they want to concentrate on staying in the Premiership begs the question as to why they didn't field a weakened team in the second round.  In the good old days, you used to get fined for putting out a less than first team for such matches.  Now it appears the FA regard it as the done thing.  What the fifty or so Trotters fans thought of it, I can't imagine.

As for the match, I have rarely seen such a one-sided affair, even when we used to be pitched in against the fourth placed team in Greenland in the early UEFA Cup rounds in the old days.  It is no exaggeration to say we could have had twelve goals.  Here are some edited highlights.

First minute - ball falls to Teddy near "D" of penalty area and he gets it caught under his foot with the goal at his mercy; Les heads a Ted cross into ground taking the pace off it; Poyet rifles shot into side netting from nice Dazza flick; Sheringham manoeuvres a shot, but well saved by Jaaskaleinen; Poyet has shot from edge of box deflected wide by defender; Ledley cleverly deflects shot, but straight at keeper; Anderton's low drives before and after the break that the goalie just about clung onto; Teddy's miss over the bar from a couple of yards out as he stretched to reach Ledley's flick on from a corner.  And they are only the ones I can remember.

The goals were well-crafted.  Simon Davies showed his finishing ability is still sharp when Les laid one back on the edge of the area and Simon hit it so well that he sent the keeper the wrong way as it swerved to his right, perhaps unsighted by Hendry.  The Welshman is such a natural finisher, he will surely score many goals from midfield.  He was involved in the second as his long throw was flicked on by King, headed on by Sheringham to the far post, where Les rushed in to head home almost unchallenged.

That was after 28 minutes and little did we expect to be another goal to the good within a minute.  This time a low ball in from the right wing by Anderton was aimed at the six yard box and Ferdinand bravely got in between the keeper and defender to nod his second.  It was just how he used to score goals and good to see him now doing it for us.  We had t wait until the 38th minute for his hat-trick goal, but it was a classy one. A Bolton cross failed to find it's target and the ball was played out of defence by Taricco to Sheringham.  He laid it off to Poyet, who in turn found Anderton.  Darren saw Davies running outside him and played him in along the right touchline.  Davies had a man in front of him, but hit the ball with the outside of his right foot and at the far post Les rose like a salmon to head back across goal, where the ball travelled to the back of the net without the in-rushing Anderton touching it.

Sir Les' substitution at half-time looked a sound move as he had his triple and it gave Sergei the chance to star, which he did not totally take, but linked up well and provided the supply for the last two goals.

The fifth was the funniest of the night, with a poor low cross by Rebrov falling between the keeper and defender. With no Spurs player pressurising, it looked as thought the keeper would claim it, but Barness slid the ball past his goalie for an own goal.  The fact that they stood arguing about it could only have been professional pride as at that stage it made no difference to the final outcome.

As it was Sergei went down the right again and pulled the ball back to Anderton standing on the penalty spot.  His first shot was blocked by the keeper, then his next one by Hendry, who knelt on the line to stop it, but the ball fell to Iversen who prodded it in for the sixth and final goal.

A useful work-out, even though it took Bolton 66 minutes to get a shot on target and then promptly substitute Frandsen who had it !!  A special mention for Anthony Gardner, who looked class in defence.  Never troubled, comfortable on the ball, happy to run with it.  Despite being out since the last game of last season, he played like he had never been away and the game will have helped give Hoddle a headache when it comes to selecting the defence in future.  This boy will go far (in the game and hopefully not from Tottenham !!).

MARTIN CULLEN

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